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WILLIAM OPENS HIS LAST PARLIAMENT.
of his own dominions, and by that means he has surrounded his neighbours in such a manner, that, though the name of peace may be said to continue, yet they are put to the expense and incon. venience of war. This must affect England in the nearest and most sensible manner, in respect to our trade, which will soon become precarious in all the variable branches of it; in respect to our peace and safety at home, which we cannot hope should long continue; and in respect to that part, which England ought to take in the preservation of the liberty of Europe.' The king then announced that he had concluded several alliances, in order to avert the general calamity with which the rest of Christendom is threatened by the exorbitant power of France. “It is fit I should tell you, the eyes of all Europe are upon this parliament; all matters are at a stand till your resolutions are known; and therefore no time ought to be lost. You have yet an opportunity, by God's blessing, to secure to you, and your posterity, the quiet enjoyment of your religion and liberties, if you are not wanting to yourselves, but will exert the ancient vigour of the English nation; but I tell you plainly, my opinion is, if you do not lay hold on this occasion, you have no reason to hope for another." He called upon them to provide a great strength at sea, and a land force that should be proportionate to the forces of the allies. He exhorted them to take care of the public credit, “which cannot be preserved but by keeping sacred that maxim, that they shall never be losers who trust to a parliamentary security.” The king concluded with this bold and stirring exhortation :
“My lords and gentlemen ; I hope you are come together determined to avoid all manner of disputes and differences ; and resolved to act with a general and hearty concurrence for promoting the common cause, which alone can make this a happy session. I should think it as great a blessing as could befall England, if I could observe you as much inclined to lay aside those unhappy fatal animosities, which divide and weaken you, as I am disposed to make all my subjects safe and easy as to any, even the highest offences, committed against me. Let me conjure you to disappoint the only hope of our enemies by your unanimity. I have shown, and will always show, how desirous I am to be the common father of all my people. Do you, in like manner, lay aside parties and divisions. Let there be no other distinction heard of amongst us for the future but of those who are for the Protestant religion, and the present establishment, and of those who mean a Popish prince, and a French government. I will only add this ; if you do in good earnest desire to see England hold the balance of Europe, and to be indeed at the head of the Protestant interest, it will appear by your right improving the present opportunity."
This speech, so earnest, so manly, so thoroughly addressed to the great English heart, could be met with no factious strife or sullen coldness. William had the nation at his back. The Commons very speedily voted a supply of six hundred thousand pounds. They resolved that an Address be presented to the king, requesting that it be an article in the several treaties of alliance, " That no peace shall be made with France, until his majesty and the nation have reparation for the great indignity offered by the French king, in owning and declaring the pretended prince of Wales king of England, Scotland, and Ireland.” They voted forty thousand men for the land forces, and forty thousand for sea service. The only want of unanimity was in the resistance to a Bill " for abjuring the pretended prince of Wales," but this was finally passed on the 24th of February.
When William went to Holland in the summer of 1701 he appeared in the last stage of bodily feebleness. His spirit had been deeply mortified by the parliamentary conflicts which promised little of future tranquillity. But in the labours of that autumn his health appeared to grow better. It has been admirably said: “Let those who doubt the dominion of the soul over the bodily powers; who deny that a strong mind can sway, and strengthen, and force onward a feeble and suffering frame ; let such observe, whether, in the last labours of William to form the Alliance, or in the Alliance itself when formed, they can discover any trace of sickness--one single mark of languor or decline."* The altered spirit of the English Parliament seemed to infuse a new life into the king. He took delight in his additions to Hampton Court. He went there once a week to hunt, although so weak as to be obliged to be listed on his horse. It was there that, on Saturday the 21st of February, “ he fell from his horse that stumbled at a mole-hill.” + He fractured his collar-bone ; but the injury was not considered serious. He was conveyed to Kensington. On the 23rd he sent a message to the Commons, in which he said that, being confined by an unhappy accident from coming in person, he thus signified what he designed to have spoken from the throne. He referred to the appointment of commissioners in the first year of his reign for treating of a union between England and Scotland. He was convinced that nothing would more contribute to the present and future happiness and security of the two kingdoms than a firm and entire
Lord Mahon, “ War of the Succession in Spain," p. 43. t Vernon Letters, vol. iii. p. 1841
DEATH OF WILLIAM THE THIRD.
union between them. “ His majesty would esteem it'a peculiar felicity if, during his reign, some happy expedient for making both kingdoms one might take place ; and is therefore extremely desirous that a treaty for that purpose might be set on foot; and does, in the most earnest manner, recommend this affair to the consideration of the House.” It was a solemn appeal, which was made doubly solemn by the event which was impending. On the 3rd of March Vernon wrote that the king “is very near well of his hurt.” Three days later he was in extreme danger. Albemarle had been sent to Holland, to arrange for an early campaign. , “He came back on the 7th of March, in the morning, with so good an account of everything, that, if matters of that kind could have wrought on the king, it must have revived him: but the coldness with which he received it showed how little hopes were left. Soon after he said •Je tire vers ma fin’-I draw towards my end."* He signed a Commission for passing the Bill of Abjuration and the Money Bill. The next day, the 8th of March, he was evidently dying. He received the sacrament. “ He was often looking up to heaven in many short ejaculations.” He took Portland by the hand, “and carried it to his heart with much tenderness,” but his voice was gone. “ His reason and all his senses were entire to the last minute. ... He died with a clear and full presence of mind, and with a wonderful tranquillity.” | The enemies of William could not respect this tranquillity, and wanted some better evidence of his piety than the circumstance that “when he was so weak that he could scarce speak, he gave the archbishop of Canterbury his hand, as a sign that he firmly believed the truth of the Christian religion.” 1 The contemporary and the historical revilers of William 111. have passed away, as those worshippers of absolute power have passed away who toasted “William's horse;." and drank“ a health to the little gentleman dressed in velvet.” § He died before any new caprice of fortune,-any fickleness of public opinion, --came to cloud the bright prospect which was opening before him, of the destinies of the country which he had served so well, and which had so ill rewarded him, and of his own land which never failed to recognize his admirable qualities. “ The earl of Portland told me,” says Burnet, “that when he was once encouraging him, from the good state his affairs were in, both at home and abroad, to take more heart, the king answered him,—that he knew death was that which he had looked at on all occasions without terror; sometimes he would have been glad to have been delivered
out of all his troubles ; but he confessed now he saw another scene, and could wish to live a little longer.” The wish was not granted by the Supreme Disposer of the affairs of nations. But the chief object of William's life was in great part accomplished. The union of Europe was consolidated. “ Just as the last hand was given to this immense and complicated machine, the master workman died: but the work was formed on true mechanical principles, and it was as truly wrought. It went by the impulse it had received from the first mover. The man was dead: but the grand alliance survived, in which king William lived and reigned.” *
Burke. “Regicide Peace."
NOTE.—THE ACT OF SETTLEMENT.
NOTE. AN ACT FOR THE FURTHER LIMITATION
OF THE CROWN AND BETTER SECURING THE
The Preamble to this Act recites the tenor of the Statute of the ist of William and Mary; and sets forth that the late queen and the duke of Gloucester being dead, the king had recommended a further provision for the Succession oi the Crown :
“Therefore for a further provision of the succession of the crown in the Protestant line, we, your majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the lords spiritual and temporal and commons in this present Parliament assembled, do beseech your majesty that it may be enacted and declared, and be it enacted and declared, by the king's most excellent majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the lords spiritual and temporal and com, mons in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, that the most excellent princess Sophia, electress and duchess dowager of Hanover, daughter of the most excellent princess Elizabeth, late queen of Bohemia, daughter of our late sovereign lord king James the first, of happy memory, be and is hereby declared to be the next in succession in the Protestant line to the imperial crown and dignity of the said realms of England, France, and Ireland, with the dominions and territories thereunto belonging. after his majesty and the princess Ann of Denmark, and in default of issue of the said princess Ann and of his majesty respectively; and that from and after the decease of his said majesty, our now sovereign lord, and of her royal highness the princess Ann of Denmark, and for default of issue of the said princess Ann and of his majesty respectively, the crown and royal government of the said kingdoms of England, France, and Ireland, and of the dominions thereunto belonging, with the royal state and dignity of the said realms, and all honours, styles, titles, regalities, prerogatives, powers, jurisdictions, and authorities to the same belonging and appertaining, shall be, remain, and continue to the said most excellent princess Sophia, and the heirs of her body, being Protestants. And thereunto the said lords spiritual and temporal, and commons, shall and will, in the name of all the people of this realm, most humbly and faithfully submit themselves, their heirs and posterities, and do faithfully promise, after the deceases of his majesty and her royal highness, and the failure of the heirs of their respective bodies, to stand to, maintain and defend the said princess Sophia, and the heirs of her body, being Protestants, according 10 the limitation and succession of the crown in this Act specified and contained, to the utmost of their powers, with their lives and estates, against all persons whatsoever that shall attempt anything to the contrary.
“Provided always, and it is hereby enacted, that all and every person and persons who shall or may take or inherit the said crown by virtue of the limitation of this present Act, and is, are, or shall be reconciled to, or shall hold communion with the See or Church of Rome, or shall profess the Popish religion, or shall marry a Papist, shall be subject to such incapacities as in such case or cases are by the said recited Act (1st Gul. and Mar.) provided, enacted, and established. And that every king and queen of this realm who shall come to and succeed in the imperial crown of this kingdom, by virtue of this Act, shall have the coronation oath administered to him, her, or them, at their respective coronations, according to the Act of Parliament made is the first year of the reign of his majesty and the said late queen Mary, entitled 'an Act for establishing the coronation oath,' and shall make, subscribe, and repeat the declaration in the Act first above recitede mentioned, or referred to, in t'ie manner and form the.tby prescribed.